Dividing and Multiplying the Self in the Odyssey
In Odyssey 20.1-53 we encounter two deliberation scenes and two similes, Odysseus’ barking heart and Odysseus as a sizzling paunch. This paper has two objectives. First, it offers a new reading of the similes that probes their ramifications for their immediate and broader context: the barking heart in tandem with the first deliberation “divides” Odysseus and fore-shadows the killing of the maids, while the sizzling paunch together with the second deliberation and Athena’s intervention “multiplies” Odysseus and anticipates the suitors’ doom. Second, it explains the ordering of the two deliberations in a continuous narrative by locating in the first deliberation scene the temporal and thematic material of both scenes, as well as the main narrative stages of Odyssey 13-22.